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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Operation SD Q2 16

June 24, 2016

In partnership with iDEA Hub, EDC hosted the 6th Annual Multi-Use Technology Symposium in conjunction with San Diego Startup Week. With industry leaders including NASA, SPAWAR, UC San Diego, Northrop Grumman and others in participation, the day-long event focused on robotics, autonomous vehicles and opportunities for entrepreneurs.

San Diego’s tech ecosystem is intimately connected to the region’s defense economy, with federal labs like SPAWAR continue to play a vital role in spurring innovation that has led to broad commercial success. To foster more engagement between federal labs across Southern California and San Diego’s rich entrepreneurial ecosystem, the symposium brought together nearly 150 attendees to discuss new technologies under development in autonomous vehicles and robotics.

SDSW provided an excellent venue for entrepreneurs from across San Diego to learn how they might partner with industry leaders and federal labs in San Diego’s rapidly evolving tech hub. The event showcased technologies from Northrop Grumman, 5D Robotics, UC San Diego, NASA Armstrong, China Lake, SPAWAR, Qualcomm, among others. Attendees were able to discuss cutting edge research and strategies on how to leverage these entities as business partners – driving San Diego and its innovative companies forward.  

June 24, 2016

San Diego’s large and complex concentration of Navy and Marine Corp personnel and assets face a wide variety of challenges ranging from budget pressures under sequestration to consequences of changing geopolitical strategies like the rebalance to the Pacific.  With more than 22 percent of San Diego’s GDP tied to our military and defense industrial base, this sector is a critical driver of the region’s economy.

This connectivity is why EDC works in close partnership with the San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC) to develop strategies to support the region’s military through a coordinated DC strategy. SDMAC, with its extensive group of retired flag officers, has the network and understanding necessary to advocate for the defense industry in San Diego as they face budget and geopolitical pressures. 

This year, EDC joined SDMAC for its annual DC trip, where Executive Director Randy Bogle and President Ward Wilson met with senior Navy and Marine Corp commanders and our local congressional delegation to discuss how best we can continue to support the military in San Diego.

Meetings in DC ranged from conversations with Navy Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Forest Faison on how best to continue to build partnerships in our medical community to ensure the long-term wellbeing of our veteran population, to conversations with Assistant Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley about the importance of our shipbuilders in San Diego and how future ship deployments will impact the region. Conversations at the Pentagon were followed by a series of meetings with San Diego’s congressional delegation, whose leadership positions on the HASC and other key committees continue to prove valuable to San Diego. Maintaining a presence in DC with trips such as this are critical to our being effective allies for the region’s military. 

May 17, 2016

By Jesse Gipe, manager, economic development

In partnership with more than a dozen organizations across San Diego County including the San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC), EDC has established Operation San Diego, a strategy to support our military and defense assets in the region. As part of these efforts, I had the opportunity to attend the largest gathering of senior military officials ever hosted by the Governor’s Military Council (GMC) earlier this week. The two-day Defense Summit provided military leaders, support organizations, state agencies and elected officials an opportunity to discuss how to address some of the critical needs of bases and the personnel they house.

While in San Diego it can be hard to forget the impact of our military in our day to lives – with a $45 billion impact to our GRP – other areas in California do not share our military concentration. Recognizing the need for a strong voice from California in support of the military, and through efforts led by both SDMAC and EDC, Governor Brown established the GMC. The all-volunteer board members of the GMC form an impressive roster of retired flag officers from every branch of the DoD and Coast Guard. This group of well-respected former military leaders have answered the Governor’s call to serve on the council and lend their collective expertise to ensure that California is proactively supporting the military in DC and at the state level.

Kicking off two days of activities, the GMC hosted their quarterly board meeting attended by Governor Brown on Tuesday. The council, led by Chair Ellen Tauscher, former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, discussed the GMC’s strategy to support bases and personnel in California. 

After the GMC’s board meeting, nearly 40 active duty commanders and military personnel including some of the state's most senior commanders such as Brigadier General Edward Banta, Commander of Marine Corp Installations West and a strong contingent from Navy Region Southwest flew in to participate in a full day of workshops on Wednesday. In addition to the military leadership approximately 50 individuals from base support organizations such as SDMAC’s Executive Director Randy Bogle and other key agencies like SANDAG were also in attendance.

The workshops were designed to help bases and the communities supporting them identify solutions to address several common issues. These issues primarily revolve around the military’s needs for reliable and secure energy, the impact of the drought on water reliability, the demand for new creative funding partnerships to address budget shortfalls caused in part by sequestration, and of course how to help service members transition back into civilian life.

This message has certainly resonated with Governor Brown, who reiterated the significant role of the military in his remarks to the GMC: “There is a very important connection, because without the defense contracts, the aerospace contracts in California wouldn't be where it is today.”  Military bases across California not only continue to provide vital national security missions for the United States; they have been pivotal in the establishment of some of our state's most vibrant industries.  Most notably, of course, would be aerospace, but bases like SPAWAR in San Diego have created groundbreaking technologies such as radar, that have helped spur commercial innovation in a wide variety of industries.

Events like this provide unique value for San Diego as we strive to maintain and enhance what has always been one of our region’s critical economic and cultural pillars: the military.  EDC will continue to work closely with the GMC, regional partners including SDMAC, the State of California and in Washington DC to make sure that as our region continues to support the military.